My cats were my babies long before my daughter arrived. The addition of a human baby only meant our family was getting bigger. However, I had to endure (and still occasionally endure) negative comments and doubts about all 8 of us being one big happy family.
I’m very proud to be a crazy cat lady. You may or not be surprised how many people thought that having a child would change that. That having a baby would make you forget about your critter babies. Seriously, I’d listened to other parents tell me they used to love dogs and cats and got rid of them after realizing that their children took up too much of their time.
While pregnant, I was told to get rid of the cats because the litterbox was bad news for me. It’s true that toxoplasmosis is a risk when scooping litterboxes. However, you can take precautions, like wearing gloves. Or, in my case, use pregnancy as a medically relevant excuse to have my husband scoop the litterboxes!
What if cats attack? There’s no denying that cat scratches can get infected. A cousin of mine even mentioned his daughter getting scratched by the cat and having to go to the Emergency Room as a result of it. Did he get rid of his cat because of it though? No. And neither would I.
This isn’t to say that some day in the future, a cat could scratch her. But I will deal with it if it happens. It’s common sense to keep claws trimmed and child/cat interactions closely monitored. Another part of prevention is knowing your cats. While pregnant, my husband and I speculated about how each cat would react to a new baby, and how they would interact with her once she got older. Clue is the only cat of mine that gets an attitude, and is a mommy’s girl, so she was the only one I was really concerned about.
So far, the cats have not attacked. Clue stays away from her, while the others have no issues with curling up close to her.
When we first brought her home, the two youngest were even afraid of her. Our daughter started crying, and next thing we knew, Scrabble was crying too. Rook, from the very beginning, hasn’t had any issues with her.
Germs are a huge topic of debate. Some people argue, oh once your kid is up and moving, she’s going to try to eat cat food and play in the litterbox. However, speaking to other new parents, we’ve heard laughs over pets and children playing with each others toys. Yes, they’ve tried sanitizing it all in hopes of not spreading germs, but after awhile, they gave up. Their child didn’t die of germs or get sick. Allergies were another topic of debate. If my daughter were to develop allergies to the cats, would I be willing to get rid of the them?
She doesn’t show any symptoms of allergies right now. Having spoken to other parents and our vet, we lean towards the belief that some germs can be good. Exposing our daughter to cats at a young age could build her immunity against allergies and germs better than if we’d kept her in a sterile bubble.
In conclusion, I’m not ignorant to the risks involved with cats and babies: allergies, germs, scratches and hurt feelings. However, I love my cats, and I love my daughter. Diligent supervision and precautions can help minimize risks.